Fr. Ignatius Maternowski, OFM Conv., was born on March 28, 1912, in Holyoke, MA. His elementary education was in the Parish School of Mater Dolorosa, Holyoke. His secondary training was at St. Francis High School, Athol Springs, NY. While at St. Francis, Fr. Ignatius was further impressed by the life of the Friars that he had first some to know in his home parish, and he expressed his intention of entering the Conventual Franciscans. He was sent to St. Joseph Cupertino Novitiate, Ellicott City, MD, for his novitiate, professing his simple vows of obedience, chastity and poverty on August 18, 1932. For his philosophical and theological studies he was sent to St. Hyacinth Chapel, and there he was ordained to the priesthood on July 3, 1938 by Bishop Thomas M. O'Leary of Springfield. Fr. Ignatius received his first assignment as an assistant in the Parish of Corpus Christi, Buffalo, NY. His gift for preaching being noticed by the Minister Provincial, in 1939 Fr. Ignatius was assigned as a preacher/missionary in the Friary of St. Anthony of Padua, Ellicott City, MD. For three years he conducted his missionary apostolate with fruitful and laudable success. From the outbreak of World War II Fr. Ignatius thought of rendering his service as a military chaplain. He was given permission and in July, 1942 he enlisted in the Armed Forces. Having served his country for 23 months, Fr. Ignatius lost his life during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, on June 13, 1944, in the 32nd year of his age, 11th of his religious Profession and 5th of his Priesthood. The Province Jubilee Book of 1956 noted: "This former member of our Mission band was truly an apostle and friend of the soldiers entrusted to his spiritual care." Fr. Ignatius's remains were laid to rest in Mater Dolorosa Cemetery, South Hadley, MA (Friars' Plot, No. 3).
Addendum: Father Maternowski was the Catholic Chaplain for the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division and held the rank of Captain at the time of his death. He jumped into Normandy at about 1:30 am on D-Day June 6, 1944 and ministered to the wounded and dead in heavy hedgerow fighting thereafter. On June 13th he was trying to find a doctor to treat a wounded man in Ste. Mere Eglise when he was killed by a sniper.
Conventual Franciscan priest - Killed during the D-Day Normandy Invasion
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